The 4-Year (Maybe?) 18-Month Sweater

Howdy, knitters! Welcome back to another edition of the Knitting Daddy blog. If you’re a return visitor, I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying your visits so much to keep coming back. If this is your first time visiting, I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy what you read here. You might want to start by reading my knitting origin story. After that, poke around and read the things that look interesting to you. As always, please feel free to leave comments and/or contact me using the contact info at the bottom of this post.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve updated the blog, and I apologize for my absence. I had some health issues pop up last week that knocked me out of commission for a few days. I’m back on the mend now, though. I even managed to get a little knitting done!

This week, I’m going to share the story of the first (and only (so far!)) sweater I knitted. It’s for Blueberry, and was quite an adventure. Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at the things that have been happening in my knitting life the past couple of weeks.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

This sweater was a joy to knit and assemble. I just wish I paid attention to gauge and knitted it at the appropriate size.

These Past Two Weeks In Podcasts

I’m a little behind on my podcasts again — since I took several days off work last week, I lost valuable commuting time that I use to listen to podcasts. I did listen to episodes of Lost Geek Podcast, Knitmore Girls (2 episodes!), Curious Handmade, Knotty Girls KnitCast, Knit Circus, and Knitting Pipeline. As always, good stuff all around.

In Lost Geek Podcast Episode 33 (Sakura, Alpen Snow, and Challenge! KAL), Arlin talks about her recent trip to Japan. It sounds like she had a great time! She also talked a little about the Mastering The Knits podcast she’s following as she works through the Knitting Masters Program.

In Knitmore Girls Episode 280 (Colonel… Sanders?), Jasmin talks about finishing her Hitchhiker shawl. They also talk about yarn chicken, a fun sport we all play. In Episode 281 (Big skeins), Jasmin and Gigi review a couple of books about knitting animal hats. They sound absolutely delightful.

In Curious Handmade 26 (Warning! This episode may contain temptation), Helen made me want to visit London to enjoy all of the crafty and foodie things she described. She also introduced me again on the podcast since I introduced myself on the CH Ravelry board. It’s humbling to hear someone else talk about my knitting origin story.

In Knotty Girls KnitCast Episode 25 (RELEASE THE KRAKEN! (OR JEN TAKES A CONTROVERSIAL STANCE)), Jen and Laura have a fascinating geek culture discussion about theatrical costuming.

In Knit Circus 45, Amy and Jaala talk about the joys of warm-weather knitting.

In Knitting Pipeline 170 (Elizabeth Zimmerman and I-Cord), Paula talks about the many versatile uses of i-cord. Paula was also kind enough to read my comment about her Kindness of Knitters Blanket.

These Two Weeks On My Needles

Almost all of the knitting I’ve done the past two weeks have been on a Milo for Blueberry. I’m planning on writing about it more next week, but here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetite.

Blueberry and Knitting Daddy

Blueberry is sporting her new Milo (that still needs to be blocked).

Blueberry's Owl Milo

The Milo is a wonderful, fun pattern. I chose to use the owl motif for the cabling.

Ravelry Project Page: Blueberry’s Owl Milo
Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Yarn Used: madelinetosh tosh merino DK in the croquette colorway

Recently In Ravelry

In my last post, I mentioned that I recently won a skein of yarn. It arrived, and it’s wonderful!

January Yarns

Beautiful yarn from January Yarns in the Artifact color way.

This is Staple Sock by January Yarns in the Artifact colorway. I originally thought I’d knit a toy out of it, but I’m really starting to lean toward knitting a pair of sock for myself with it now. It’s a rich brown, with hints of reddish brown in it. I absolutely love it. Thank you, Dr. Kelly from Ewe University for hosting the contest I won. And thank you, Sarah from January Yarns, for the wonderful prize!

The 4-Year (Maybe?) 18-Month Sweater

When I started knitting, most of my projects were small. I knitted a handful of hats for Blueberry. It wasn’t too long after I started knitting that I wanted to do a larger project. I had bought a few pattern books from the local craft store and one of the sweaters cried out to me: Princess of Hearts by Deborah Newton. It was the cover pattern from Heirloom Baby Knits.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

The heart motif carries along the back of the sweater.

I started by looking for the yarn called for in the pattern. I checked several yarn stores and couldn’t find the yarn. So then I started considering substituting the yarn. Experienced knitters might already begin to see where this is about to go wrong. I was still a very new knitter (I’d been knitting less than a year) and really didn’t know everything I should be taking into consideration when working out how to substitute the yarn.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

The hearts are a fun and classy motif throughout the entire sweater.

The nice lady at the yarn store was very helpful. She looked at the pattern with me and we found a nice substitution they had in stock. We pulled out a calculator and did some math. We compared how much yarn was in the yarn called for in the pattern, and how much was on each skein of the yarn in the store. We did some more math. Finally, we decided how much yarn I’d need and I made my purchase.

I didn’t swatch.

OK, experienced knitters definitely see where this story is going wrong. I was a new knitter. I didn’t think that swatching was really that important. I was ready to get going! So I just started knitting, using the instructions that would knit up an 18-month version of the sweater.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

Spotlighting the lace heart details on the sleeve.

I started to think that something was wrong when I realized I was going to run out of yarn before I ran out of sweater. The math we did at the store indicated that there would be at least a half a skein of yarn left over when I was done, and here I am playing yarn chicken. With an entire sleeve.

I went back to the yarn store to see if they had any more yarn left. They didn’t. I poked around on Ravelry to find people who might have the same yarn and sent them messages asking if they’d be willing to trade or sell the yarn with me. No one responded. I started looking at online stores. I finally found an online store (WEBS, they’re awesome!) that had the yarn in stock. They even had the same dye lot! I was thrilled, and was able to finish the sweater. It looked great.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

My wife found these wonderful buttons while we were on vacation at the beach.

Once the sweater was off the needles, there was some assembly required — the sleeves needed to be sewn in. It was fun to learn how to do that, and it came out very well. Once it was all assembled, I put it on Blueberry to see how it looked.

The sleeves (that were supposed to be 3/4 length) completely engulfed her arms. The bottom of the sweater was dragging the floor. It was way too big. There was no way she’d be wearing it anytime soon.

Every couple of months, I take the sweater out and put it on Blueberry to see if it fits yet. It doesn’t. I’m kinda guessing that she might be able to wear it when she’s about 4 (she’s about 2 now). All things considered, as knitting disasters go, this one isn’t too bad: I was able to get all of the yarn in the same colorway to finish the sweater, and I’d rather have a too big sweater that Blueberry can grow into instead of a too small sweater that she can’t wear.

Blueberry's Princess Of Hearts

Running a ribbon through the collar creates a great finishing touch.

From now on, I swatch. And when I do knitting math, I do it at least twice.

Maybe she can wear it for Easter next year. Or the year after.

Ravelry Project Page: Blueberry’s Princess Of Hearts
Pattern: Princess Of Hearts by Deborah Newton
Yarn Used: Classic Elite Inca Alpaca in Colorway 1165, which is a light purple

Sweater And Milo

For comparison, the Milo that currently fits Blueberry is dwarfed by the Princess of Hearts.

Have you been bitten by yarn substitution math? Or by ignoring to swatch? It’s OK, we all have. Share your stories in the comments and let us know how you handled it.

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

Ravelry: KnittingDaddy

13 thoughts on “The 4-Year (Maybe?) 18-Month Sweater

  1. Hahaaa! That is a great story on your Princess of Hearts! The pattern and your sweater (and Blueberry) are all just lovely, and it will fit her eventually. 🙂 I’ve not knit the Milo, but it’s only a matter of time, I fear…another great baby knit, to be sure! And congrats on the yarn win!

    • Hi, Pam! Oh, yes, the Princess of Hearts is a great story on so many levels. I learned lots and lots and lots. Thank you for the kind words about Blueberry and my knitting. I’m definitely happy that if it wasn’t going to fit, it came out large. I just remember to take it out every few months and check the fit. 🙂

      I can heartily endorse the Milo pattern. It comes in sizes from newborn to 6 years, and is very versatile. I suspect that I will be knitting more of these for Blueberry as she grows. 🙂

  2. Great story. The sweater is adorable. I’m glad she’ll get to wear it eventually.

    I have a similar story about my first sweater, though unfortunately I made it for myself. I substituted yarn as well, and it was totally the wrong kind. And I didn’t swatch. It was supposed to be somewhat oversized, but it came out gigantic. This is where I learned that I’m a loose knitter, and now I swatch for everything that has to be a certain size (I still don’t on things like shawls).

    I love the Milo. Blueberry looks adorable in it, though I’m sure she does in everything. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to seeing what your yarn becomes!

    • Hi, Laura! Glad you enjoyed the story. I’ve found that our knitting “adventures” often make for great stories. Plus, they provide valuable learning experiences. Yes, like you, my adventure with that sweater convinced me of the value of swatching. I don’t worry about swatching for things that don’t really matter — like toys — but for a garment, you better believe I’m going to swatch.

      Thanks for the kind words about Milo and Blueberry. I plan to write more about Milo in next week’s blog, with lots more pictures.

      I really think that the yarn from January Yarns is going to become a pair of socks. For me!

    • Hi, Carla! Thanks for the kind words. I really like the sweater, too, and I’m looking forward to the day that my little princess is big enough that it fits her. Maybe in time for Easter next year (or the year after…).

  3. I’ve definitely had issues with yarn substitutions! Once I made a vest that seemed ok, but after wearing it for a few hours the thing grew so much because of the weight of the yarn that the armholes were down to my waist!

    The sweater is beautiful, even if it is too big. At least she’ll grow into it someday!

    Looking forward to to seeing what you make with Artifact!

    • Hi, Sarah — thanks for the comments! I’m a little concerned about Blueberry’s sweater once she is big enough to wear it. It’s in alpaca, which I have since learned has a tendency to stretch under its own weight. She might end up with waist-length armholes, too! It certainly is pretty in pictures, at least. 🙂

      I’m excited about Artifact! I’m pretty sure it’s going to turn into socks for me. Thanks again for the prize!

  4. Lol, I had to laugh – I don’t swatch either & whenever I’m half way thru a project I always think to myself, “geesh, maybe I should have swatched!” BUT in saying that, the cardigan looks fab & I love the Milo too – I’m yet to photograph my Milo but my son has claimed that it is beautiful (!!) but doesn’t want to try it on yet – hmph!

    • Hi, Marie — thanks for the comment! The more I knit, the more I realize how important it is to swatch for garments. I don’t bother swatching for toys, ’cause that really doesn’t matter so much, as long as the knitted fabric is tight. Glad to hear that your son declared the Milo to be beautiful! Would love to see some pictures once he decides he’ll model it for you. 🙂

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  6. Perhaps in the “interlude” before the sweater fits, we’ll have time to search for just the right piece of silk-satin ribbon. Grosgrain is great for a lot of things, but I think a more delicate ribbon is ultimately in keeping with this sweater’s character. I’ve been keeping my eye out…

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